These are exciting times for Gavin Gribben from Co Down. The young singer is carving out a special niche for himself on the dance circuit and he must be doing something right as crowds are flocking to his shows.

From Mayobridge, Gavin grew up in a home where both country music and traditional Irish music held sway. In 2016, he won the All-Ireland Scór na nÓg competition in Killarney while representing Ulster.

It was the culmination of various accolades he garnered on the trad scene in those times.

“Music was always a special part of the family home and I was exposed to various genres but especially country and trad,” he tells Country Sound.

The debut

“When I recorded my debut album, Living The Dream, it was mainly all traditional ballads. Come Back Paddy Reilly To Ballyjamesduff was the song that really took off on that album and that surprised me in a special way,” he adds. “It was composed by Percy French from Roscommon over a 100 years ago so you never know where you are going to get that hit song that can help change your life,” he says.

The reports of his success spread like wildfire and Gavin was soon catapulted onto a new stage where he was instantly recognisable and where people looked forward to seeing him perform on concert shows.

Last August he was delighted to take to the stage in the INEC, Killarney, meeting people from all over the island of Ireland who have a fondness for what he is doing.

You can be sure of a good selection when he takes to the stage. With Big Tom, Gene Stuart, Philomena Begley and Brian Coll popular styles, he also enjoys doing the American greats such as Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Dolly Parton as well as Gareth Brooks and, closer to home, Nathan Carter.

“I am equally at home doing all kinds of music, including good traditional sessions and ballads,” he mentions.

The Belfast Mill was another popular song from his debut album. The song was originally known as the Aragon Mill based in a town in Georgia, US, and one of the most famous recordings of the evocative song was by Hazel Dickens. Here in Ireland, Dolores Keane recorded a version under the original title.

“We did a very traditional style video to accompany Belfast Mill and it has proven very popular for me,” he says.

Fun with Friends

Gavin’s current single is one called Pub Crawl and he had great fun recording the video with friends.

“It’s all about good humour with a few lads on a night out. It is picking up serious radio airplay as well as views on Facebook and YouTube,” he tells us.

With the diary filling up nicely for 2023, he is thrilled to be back on the road again.

With a trip to Spain for Declan Nerney’s “Hooley in the Sun,” in October, he will be also be performing in Scotland and England as well as dates all over Ireland.

“I am loving it all and enjoying meeting people across the generations”

Watch out for Gavin Gribben, the 21-year-old Co Down singer who is blazing a trail with an easy-going nature that people are warming to from Antrim to Kerry.

Letters from the Front debuts in Kilkenny

A new musical drama, Letters from the Front, is making its debut at the Watergate Theatre in Kilkenny this week. The show got under way on 22 March and continues until Saturday night.

Written and directed by Don O’Connor from Kilkenny and Ollie Hennessy from Carlow, this original musical drama tells the story of three families, caught up in the turmoil of World War One.

A story of love, hope, despair and loss, it follows the tale of young Irish couple Willie and Eileen from rural Kilkenny, forced to separate as Willie enlists to fight on the Western Front. As Ireland is preparing to fight for independence from Britain, Willie makes the unpopular decision to fight on the side of the King of England against the German Kaiser’s troops in France.

Brendan Corcoran stars in World War One Musical drama 'Letters from the Front'.

The music is inspired by and based on real letters written by soldiers and family members from 1914-1918.

The drama has its origins during the Kilkenny Yulefest festival 2018 when a production entitled A Silent Night was presented in James Stephens Military Barracks.

Don O’Connor, producer/director, has written most of the powerful script. He has won numerous awards over the years as director of drama, musical, and pantomimes.

Ollie Hennessy is well known in music circles and served as the musical director for RTÉ at the Rose of Tralee for over two decades.

His score was recorded in Sofia, Bulgaria with the Bulgarian National Symphony Orchestra.

Ollie’s good friend, Eimear Noone from Kilconnell, Co Galway, conducted the Symphony Orchestra. Eimear was the first female to conduct at the Oscars in its 95-year history back in 2020. Among the songs featured in the production is a beautiful show-stopping number written by Olivia Smith and Ollie Hennessy.

Letters from the Front features some of Kilkenny’s top performers including Brendan Corcoran, Mike Kelly, Ciarán Dunphy, Mary Buggy, Clare Gibbs, Fergal Millar, John Treacy, Shane O’Keeffe, Rachel Leydon and Declan Taylor.

  • 22 - 25 March, 8pm nightly
  • Tickets are available from the Watergate Theatre (056-776 1674)
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